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The Boston Globe is a leading U.S. metro newspaper and the oldest and largest daily in Boston.

The Globe is owned by Boston billionaire John Henry, who bought it in 2013. It is renowned in particular for its sports journalism, and in the early 2000s, the paper played a key role in exposing the sexual abuse scandal among Boston-area Catholic priests. The paper’s investigative unit, the Boston Globe Spotlight Team, has earned three of the paper’s more than 20 Pulitzer Prizes. The Globe had a newsroom of about 360 in 2014.

The Globe’s primary website, Boston.com, is the largest regional news site in the United States and the seventh-most popular newspaper website overall. It was one of the first newspapers to develop a local search tool, and its popular photoblog The Big Picture has been recognized as an innovative online photojournalism project.

In September 2011, the Globe launched a second site, BostonGlobe.com, to run as a paid site alongside the free Boston.com. Boston.com includes breaking news, blogs, sports, and local information (including sports ticket sales), while BostonGlobe.com provides more in-depth journalism and feature reporting, along with much of the content from the newspaper’s print edition. BostonGlobe.com features responsive design for various screen sizes, initially allowing the Globe to avoid producing a separate app for the site.

As of September 2013, the paper had 45,000 digital-only subscribers, and it had “nearly 60,000” in early 2014. In 2012, the paper cut the amount of social sharing allowed of BostonGlobe.com content and further limited content available for free on Boston.com, and in 2013, the paper made more attempts to separate the sites. In 2014, the paper announced plans to turn BostonGlobe.com’s paywall into a metered model and turn Boston.com into a mobile-focused site. The shift also involved completely separating content between the two sites and moving Boston.com staff to a separate office.

The Globe launched a subscription-based iPhone app in 2013. At launch, the app cost $3.99 per month.

The Globe was founded in 1872 and run by the Taylor family from 1873 to 1993, when it was acquired by The New York Times Co., for about $1.1 billion. The Times sold the paper to John Henry, a local billionaire and owner of the Boston Red Sox, in 2013 for just $70 million. Like many other major newspapers, the Globe lost much of its circulation and profitability while it was owned by the Times Co.

In April 2009, faced with a projected $85 million yearly loss on the paper, the Times Co. threatened to close the Globe unless the paper’s unions agreed to $20 million in concessions. By July, all of the unions had agreed to $10 million in cuts, including pay and benefit reductions, ending the threat of closure. The Globe began printing and delivering its rival paper, the Boston Herald, in 2012. It was printing the Herald’s entire press run by 2013.

The Times Co. had previously put the Globe up for sale in June 2009, at a point when the newspaper’s value was not considered to be very high. In October 2009, the Times Co. decided not to sell.

Later in 2009, the Globe launched GlobeReader, a downloadable electronic edition of the paper, for $3.50 per week and free to newspaper subscribers. (GlobeReader had been available for free online since June 2009.)

In December 2008, the newspaper chain GateHouse Media sued the Times Co. for violating copyright and trademark law by aggregating content on the Globe’s local network of sites from GateHouse’s local websites in the same area. The two companies settled out of court in January 2009.

In 2010, the newspaper launched Beta.Boston.com, a test lab showcasing work by Globe staffers as well as Globe partners. The lab launched 61Fresh, a Twitter-powered local news aggregator, in 2013. The paper also runs a live web sports show on Boston.com, plans to run an online streaming radio station, and it has talked about plans to sell domain names, seeking ownership of its own top-level domains. It began using advertiser-written or advertiser-sponsored material on its website in 2012.

The Globe runs a hyperlocal network called Your Town but laid off all of its remaining correspondents in 2014.

The Globe began a partnership with MIT’s Center for Civic Media in 2012.

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Nov. 19, 2015 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: Can you get readers to pay a dollar a day for digital news? — Is local news worth a dollar a day? That’s the fascinating question The Boston Globe is now posing to its local readers. It’s a query that should resonate among the press around North America and Europe as we...
Nov. 4, 2015 / Joseph Lichterman
With a giant staff for an online startup, The Boston Globe’s Stat aims to reach a global audience — Since John Henry bought The Boston Globe in 2013, the paper has looked beyond the Hub of the Universe for digital growth while also capitalizing on coverage areas that would come naturally to a Boston-based company. Buil...
Oct. 29, 2015 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: Here are 10 questions we’ll be talking about into 2016 — Everyone’s got questions. CNBC’s crew faced the Republican Ten for about an hour last evening until finding themselves in a no-man’s land. In front of them were the candidates who turned the tables on t...
Oct. 28, 2015 / Justin Ellis
Ed Silverman of Pharmalot on building longevity — and audience loyalty — in blogging — It’s only fitting that a blog about pharmaceutical companies would be adept at staving off death. For almost a decade, Ed Silverman has gained a reputation for his encyclopedic knowledge of the world of drug manufa...
Sept. 18, 2015 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: At the Times, the need for a private owner is L.A. consequential — It’s a trademark line of Austin Beutner’s: “I cannot imagine Los Angeles without a vibrant L.A. Times.” As anyone who follows media knows, the Los Angeles Times publisher’s imagination short...

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: April 17, 2014.
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